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Jay Kinker - Entrepreneur, Strategist, Technologist

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is one of widely accepted way to do financial transaction between financial institutions. It has over 8,300 banking organizations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries.


If you look at the SWIFT evolution in the market they cover overall market in financial institutions; from securities to cash to treasury, etc. And all of these communities have one common problem – Integration Problem.


They are many large financial institutions and many of those are aware of those problems. The middleware project/implementation that they have been running – most of the projects they have is to do message validation of the messaging platform and are big project that goes long and are risky. They also have problem to find right expertise for that. Even after years, if you ask them today, they are still working on standardization and getting to a more stable system.


In the ever increasing competitive market when everyone is trying do cost cutting, many banks have already started using SWIFT standards for there processing outside SWIFT Network (mostly for their internal branches). They also need to make available SWIFT interfaces for many legacy line of business applications, which is another challenge.

Many major banks are still relying on their legacy systems for validation and processing SWIFT and other messaging standards. SWIFT and other messaging related IT cost is one of major issues. What would you do if your regulators required you to implement a new standard?


One of very common, major and important activity at all financial institution carry our every year is updating their systems with new messaging standards (SWIFT, SIC, SECOM, etc). Many do these updates with help of their in-house IT teams whereas many take help from various service providers. In both cases, doing updates every year remains a pain point. It is a challenge to keep your existing systems updated at the same time when you expand you operations; you will have to start supporting new standards. Interestingly, SWIFT software and hardware becomes legacy the day it is installed. You don’t want to touch them from the day it is implemented!


We will see these problems growing more with time because most messaging standards and still evolving especially SWIFT. SWIFT have already announced that they are moving towards XML based SWIFT messages (ISO 20022) from their existing MT (ISO 15022) messages. Technically, it will be easier to handle XML based messages but will still be one major upgrade for existing system that processes MT messages. What do you do in such situations? This is not the end of it. We will see such major changes in future as well..!


An ideal solution for above problem spaces would need:

-          Adaptability: No matter what technologies you use but it is extremely important how adaptable your system is.

-          Expandable, extensible system: you would want to work with existing standards but the platform should also be extensible when it comes to support new once.


Here is Microsoft solution for processing SWIFT and to tackle other integration problems using BizTalk Server 2004/2006 and its Financial Accelerator for SWIFT


Typical BizTalk and A4SWIFT solution would look like:

Diagram - SWIFT Solution using BizTalk and A4SWIFT 

A4SWIFT is not replacing SWIFTAlliance Access (SAA) or any of SWIFT software. It is a complementary solution to SAA or the SWIFT gateway.


BizTalk and A4SWIFT help in:

  • Reducing complexity
  • Enable SWIFT Messaging Integration
  • Easy and affordable to implement and maintain other standards
  • Integrate with other legacy systems and line of business applications.

Features/benefits of BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT:

  • It is build on top of BizTalk Server, extends BizTalk Server to provide a reliable and scalable foundation for rapidly creating and deploying SWIFT based financial messaging solutions.
  • SWIFTReady Gold certified for Financial EAI
  • It supports all SWIFT standards and provides SWIFTNet connectivity
  • It can be used to customized business solutions to fit your needs
  • Latest version of A4SWIFT also supports MX (XML based SWIFT Messages)
  • Easy to implement and deploy - has faster time to market

I have worked and have evaluated multiple products in market that provides EAI, B2B, BPM and integration solutions. I find BizTalk Server best in many areas of integration domain.


One major key benefit of using BizTalk and A4SWIFT is “ease of maintaining the solution”. It is not only about how easy it is to develop and deploy. Since these are Microsoft products you get excellent product documentation and support. At the same time you will have less challenge for getting technical resources for the project.


Below are some of Common Business Objectives è Required Technologies to achieve è and its benefits

Common Business Objectives:

  • Using SWIFT Standards outside SWIFT Network
  • Bring the cost of EU cross-border payments down (exponentially)
  • Build STEP2 infrastructure for retail payments
  • Take advantage of evolving SWIFT messaging standards by giving them corporate customers (with or without SWIFT Network)
  • Replace multiple existing SWIFT systems with one IP-based solution
  • Provide desktop access to SWIFT for thousands employees
  • Find a low cast way to manage SWIFT messaging for international trade, funds management, e-bank and workflow
  • Better integration with legacy systems

Microsoft stack of technologies/products for above requirements:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2000/2003
  • BizTalk Server 2004/2006
  • BizTalk Server’s Financial Accelerator for SWIFT (A4SWIFT)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000/2005
  • InfoPath 2003/2005
  • Windows SharePoint Services


  • Fastest time to market!
  • Lower cost per transaction (depends on how you implement and use)
  • Growth potential for new markets in retain payments
  • Development of a web services architecture which allows future improvements and savings without replatforming
  • End-to-end integration of systems
  • Can have Thousands user with desktop access to SWIFT
  • Faster query resolution for customers
  • Single, integrated back office SWIFT system
  • SWIFT Messaging from every desktop PC
  • SWIFT messages created automatically
  • Long-term scalability guaranteed
  • Rapid implementation saves time and money
  • Substantial reduction in human error

Posted on Sunday, July 27, 2008 8:22 PM BizTalk Server , Financial Technologies , Microsoft Technologies , Financial Accelerator (A4SWIFT) | Back to top

Comments on this post: Microsoft Technologies in Financial Domain - SWIFT

# re: Microsoft Technologies in Financial Domain - SWIFT
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I've been a supporter of Unix systems since 1998, and the fact that SWIFT software and hardware becomes legacy the day it is installed increases my belief that unix would be a much safer more flexible and easier to upgrade platform for all applications, including banking.I hope that the move towards ISO 20022 will increase the reliability and speed of SWIFT software.
Left by Sightline Payments on May 02, 2011 4:32 PM

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